Making Indian mango pickles with the children was one of the many highlights of Chaya’s recent visit to SOFKIN. “The children are always eager for me to cook for them when I am at SOFKIN,” Chaya explained. “I suggested that I would teach them how to make something this time. They really enjoyed the experience of making the pickles together.”
Chaya spent 10 days with the children at the end of April. During this time, she also admitted two new residents - two girls, ages 7 and 11. The girls are sisters, who were orphaned when their mother died tragically and their father subsequently abandoned the family.
In May, many of the children left to spend a one-month holiday with their families or guardians before the new school year begins in June. As we reported in a previous blog, having the children reunite with their families is part of SOFKIN’s effort to help the children retain family bonds and stay in touch with their roots. It is also a chance for the housemothers to get a well-deserved rest. Children who have no family to visit go home with one of the housemothers.
As in past years, Chaya gave the children homework to complete during the holiday. The older children picked out a favorite book to take home and were asked to write a book review, plus keep a daily diary of their activities. The younger children were instructed to do copy writing, one page per day, to help improve their writing ability. The children are always pleased to show off what they have accomplished when they return to SOFKIN.
The other focus of Chaya’s visit was overseeing preparations for the new building. During her three-week stay, she was able to finalize the architectural design for the building, submit documents for local building permits, and start the process of hiring a contractor. Construction kick-off is planned for mid July. A target date for building completion is June 2017, which will hopefully allow the children to move in before the new academic year begins. Venkata Chalam, Secretary for India SOFKIN – and Chaya’s brother - was exceedingly helpful during the many construction-related meetings and visits that were needed.
Please join us at RHYTHM 2016 to learn more about this exciting building project. We will be sharing plans for the building lay-out, the elevated architectural drawings, and budget specifics at this 11th Annual SOFKIN flagship event. We look forward to seeing you there!